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Rev Jesse Jackson Visit to Zimbabwe Exposes Fissures in Unity Govt

  • Blessing  Zulu

The visit to Zimbabwe by United States civil rights campaigner Reverend Jesse Jackson is exposing fissures in the government of national unity ahead of crucial elections expected sometime this year.

Reverend Jackson met President Robert Mugabe in Harare on Tuesday and Prime Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday in Johannesburg.

In a two-hour meeting with Mr. Mugabe, the president impressed on Reverend Jackson to urge Washington to lift targeted sanctions imposed on him and his inner circle, adding Harare was ready to mend relations and do business with the international community.

But in meetings with the Mr. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, the civil rights leader was told that Zimbabwe needs serious political reforms before crucial elections this year.

Reverend Jackson on his part said Zimbabwe is poised for investment, greater growth and peace.

He said: "The whole world would be watching this election, if it is free, transparent and credible, that would change the whole world for Zimbabwe and Southern Africa.”

Reverend Jackson said he is anxious to see the sanctions lifted and the removal of barriers hindering co-operation between Zimbabwe and the United States and other western nations.

US ambassador to Harare Bruce Wharton, who accompanied Reverend Jackson to the meeting with President Mugabe, told VOA that the visit was private. Wharton though added it was very cordial.

Former Zimbabwe ambassador to China and Zanu-PF central committee member Chris Mutsvangwa said the visit by Reverend Jackson is significant for Harare.

MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora, who met Reverend Jackson Tuesday night with Deputy Prime Minister Thokozane Khupe, said Washington should help push President Mugabe and Zanu-PF to implement democratic reforms ahead of the polls.

Mr. Mugabe was forced into a power-sharing deal four years ago with his arch-rival Mr. Tsvangirai, now prime minister, after bloody and disputed elections in 2008.


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